FPJ cites proof of Filipino birth
GOTCHA - Jarius Bondoc () - January 21, 2004 - 12:00am
There are always two sides to a coin. Atty. Victorino Fornier said that Fernando Poe Jr. is not Filipino by birth and thus cannot become president. He based his argument on a 1936 marriage contract between FPJ’s father Allan F. Poe and one Paulita Gomez. It states Allan and his father Lorenzo Pou to be "Español". With that document, Fornier said, FPJ was born out of wedlock to American Bessie Kelly in 1939 and, following jurisprudence at the time (US vs Ong Tianse, 29 Phil. 332, 1915), thus took on the citizenship of his mother.

FPJ (real name: Ronald Allan Poe) countered Friday he is a natural-born Filipino. He claimed history on his side.

The Philippines follows the principle of jus sanguinis, or bloodline, to determine nationality. The 1935, 1973 and 1987 Constitutions uniformly define Filipinos as "those whose fathers are citizens of the Philippines".

Grandfather Lorenzo Pou was born a Spanish subject. But he died a Filipino, as his death certificate of 11 Sept. 1954 states. He was a resident of the Philippine Islands when, on 10 Dec. 1898, Spain ceded the territory to the US by virtue of the Treaty of Paris.

Article IX of that Treaty deemed: "Spanish subjects, natives of the Peninsula, residing in the territory over which Spain by the present treaty relinquishes or cedes her sovereignty, may remain in such territory or may remove therefrom... In case they remain in the territory they may preserve their allegiance to the Crown of Spain by making, before a court of record within a year from the date of the exchange of ratifications of this treaty, a declaration of their decision to preserve such allegiance; in default of which declaration they shall be held to have renounced it and to have adopted the nationality of the territory in which they may reside."

The Philippine Bill of 1902 then held: "Sec. 4. That all inhabitants of the Philippine Islands continuing to reside therein who were Spanish subjects on the 11th day of Apr. 1899, and then resided in the Philippine Islands, and their children born subsequent thereto shall be deemed and held to be citizens of the Philippine Islands... except such as shall have elected to preserve their allegiance to the Crown of Spain in accordance with the provisions of the treaty of peace between the United States and Spain signed at Paris on 10 Dec. 1898."

Too, the Jones Law provided: "Sec. 2. That all inhabitants of the Philippine Islands who were Spanish subjects on the 11th day of Apr. 1899 and then resided in said Islands, and their children born subsequent thereto, shall be deemed and held to be citizens of the Philippine Islands, except such as shall have elected to preserve their allegiance to the Crown of Spain (under the Treaty of Paris)."

FPJ swore his grandpa Lorenzo "did not choose to remain a Spanish subject. In his lifetime, he comported himself as a Philippine citizen. He voted in elections. He did not register as an alien."

Father Allan F. Poe (later to be known as actor Fernando Poe Sr.) was born in Pangasinan on 27 Nov. 1916. Since Lorenzo was a citizen of the Philippine Islands, his children including Allan were citizens likewise, following the Philippine Bill and the Jones Law.

More than that, since Allan was born before the 1935 Constitution, he acquired citizenship of the Philippine Islands simply by being born in the territory – independently of the citizenship of his parents. FPJ cited three court rulings (US vs Angel Ang, 36 Phil. 858, 1917; Teofilo Haw vs The Insular Collector of Customs, 59 Phil. 612, 1934; Jose Tan Chiong vs Secretary of Labor, 79 Phil. 249, 1947) that considered birth in the Islands as basis of citizenship at that time.

FPJ’s own birth certificate, which Fornier alleged to contain false or inaccurate entries, states his father Allan to be Filipino and mother Bessie to be American. Same with the birth certificates of his siblings, Elizabeth Ann, Fernando II, Martha Genevieve, Baby and Evangeline. "Unless controverted by competent, clear and convincing evidence, in appropriate proceedings, the (certificates) are conclusive," FPJ said. (Another lawyer has questioned the authenticity of FPJ’s certificate before a Manila court.)

Because of their maternal lineage, the Poe siblings could emigrate to the US and become American citizens. Which they did, except for FPJ.

FPJ dismissed the alleged marriage contract of his father to Gomez as "a worthless piece of paper". It is an unauthenticated photocopy and, assuming an original exists, cannot be persuasive evidence of "Español" citizenship of Lorenzo Pou and Allan F. Poe. (Fornier presented National Archives director Ricardo Manapat to the Comelec Monday to authenticate it. Sen. Tito Sotto, FPJ’s spokesman, accused Manapat of forgery.)

FPJ attached an affidavit of his aunt Ruby Kelly Mangahas, Bessie’s sister, from California. Ruby swore that Allan, Bessie and their first three children (Elizabeth, FPJ, Fernando II) had lived with her and her mother in Manila. Allan was a celebrity, yet Ruby never heard of a complaint against him by a woman claiming to be the first wife.

Now, how come legal records and jurisprudence of the same period contradict each other?
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Relief from traffic – and urinary tract infection – is finally in sight for commuters from Bulacan, Caloocan, Novaliches and Fairview. The National Economic and Development Authority has approved the $1.3-billion construction of MRT-7, the railway that will run through Quirino and Commonwealth Avenues, and connect with the MRT-3 along EDSA and LRT-1 along Rizal and Taft Avenues. With Cabinet secretaries making up the NEDA board, members are expected to ratify the decision in a meeting on Jan. 28.

To be finished by 2006, MRT-7 will have stations at Tala, Sacred Heart, Quirino, Mindanao, Regalado Avenues, Doña Carmen, Manggahan, Batasan, Don Antonio, Tandang Sora, University Avenue, Quezon Memorial Circle, and SM-North Avenue. A sub-line, with stations at UP-Katipunan and Bonifacio Road, will connect with LRT-2 in Marikina.
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E-mail: jariusbondoc@workmail.com

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